Skip to comments.Rumsfeld says missile defense shield to be ready by year's end
Posted on 08/20/2004 8:37:44 PM PDT by hedgetrimmer
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States will have a limited defense against incoming ballistic missiles by the end of this year, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in prepared remarks, calling it a "triumph of hope and vision over pessimism and skepticism."
Rumsfeld hailed the developers of the missile defense system in a speech prepared for delivery to a conference in Huntsville, Alabama, a day after President George W. Bush (news - web sites) and Senator John Kerry (news - web sites), the Democratic presidential nominee, clashed over the controversial project on the campaign trail.
"It has been two years since President Bush (news - web sites) announced the decision to deploy an initial missile defense capability and in the past few weeks, the first interceptor was put in place at Fort Greely, Alaska," Rumsfeld said.
"By the end of this year, we expect to have a limited operational capability against ballistic missiles," he said.
"These achievements represent the triumph of hope and vision over pessimism," he said.
Plans call for having up to 20 interceptor missiles at Fort Greely and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California by the end of 2005.
Five ground-based interceptor missiles are slated to go into silos at Fort Greely by the end of this year, and three or four more at Vandenberg by early next year. Another 10 interceptors are to be added in Fort Greely by the end of next year.
Pentagon (news - web sites) officials say they will form an initial capability to intercept and destroy long-range ballistic missiles fired over the Pacific at the United States.
In tests, target missiles have been successfully intercepted in five of eight attempts.
But the last intercept attempt was in December 2002, and critics say the system is being fielded without sufficient testing. Ten billion dollars have been budgeted for the program this year.
Rumsfeld defended what he said was "an evolutionary approach" to developing and deploying defenses against long-range missile attack by rogue states.
"Rather than waiting for a fixed and final architecture, we are deploying an initial set of capabilities," he said. "They will evolve over time, as technology advances -- as we are able to make these limited defenses more robust."
Rumsfeld broke little new ground in his speech the Space and Missile Defense Conference in Huntsville, which echoed one by Bush at a campaign stop Tuesday at a Boeing military equipment factory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
"Those who oppose this ballistic missile system really don't understand the threats of the 21st century," Bush said. "They're living in the past. We're living in the future. We're going to do what's necessary to protect this country."
But in a sharply worded response, Kerry national security adviser Rand Beers derided Bush's "near obsession with missile defense," and said that "the greatest threat facing our homeland comes from terrorists."
In the months before the September 11, 2001 attacks, "Bush and his closest advisors were preoccupied with missile defense and their misunderstanding about the threats we face continues to this day," Beers said in a statement.
Huh? Do we really have operational capability here? I haven't followed too closely, but our tech still seemed very experimental to me.
I like the firm, clear tone of this remark.
Whatever. But does it work? Star Wars Redux.
Oh, yes my young Jedi Knight.
I AM AFRAID THIS STATION IS FULLY OPERATIONAL!
Japanese Cabinet Approves Missile Research with U.S.
The Japanese cabinet on Friday formally approved signing a memorandum with the United States spelling out details of joint research aimed at developing an anti-ballistic missile defence system.
The system is intended to provide protection within a 3,000-km (1,900-mile) radius by detecting incoming ballistic missiles with satellites and destroying them with intercept missiles or by other means.
Japanese officials have said Japan will concentrate its research on four areas: infra-red seekers, kinetic warheads, second-stage rocket motors and nose cones.
Well the system has scored hits in 5 out of 8 attempts, and it gets better with each shot. If a missile is fired at the U.S., I like those odds -- they're better than the 0% chance of a shoot-down with no missile defense system in place. Don't you agree?
I don't think any of the tech is experimental. It was the integration.
The first interceptor has been in its silo for a month.
During Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), America once again placed its trust and confidence in Patriot soldiers, as it had during Operation Desert Storm, to protect the force from ballistic missile attack. At the end of OIF, however, there was no acrimonious debate as there was at the end of Operation Desert Storm about Patriots performance. In the maelstrom of combat, Patriot answered any question about its lethality against tactical ballistic missiles.
The performance of Patriot battalions in OIF was closely scrutinized, and it was not just the news media that was watching. Potential future enemies occupied front row seats -- as they had during the first Gulf War -- and were taking notes. Friendly or allied countries that the United States hoped to persuade to invest in cooperative missile defense systems were also observing.
The salvo of three GEMs that D/5-52 ADA unleashed at the missile bearing down on the Screaming Eagles tactical assembly area scored a direct hit.
A reporter on the scene wrote that the soldiers of the 159th Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), gave the Patriot soldiers a standing ovation. Maj. Gen. David Petraeus, the divisions commander, later stated, "Patriot saved the 101st!"
The initial intercept was just the beginning of a string of successes. U.S. Central Command credits U.S. and Kuwaiti Patriot units with downing every Iraqi missile fired into Kuwait or against coalition field forces except those that fell outside the Patriots protective engagement envelope or crashed harmlessly into the ocean or empty desert. In one of the wars most dramatic engagements, a Patriot missile salvo fired by C/6-52 ADA was credited with saving the coalition forces land component command headquarters from a possible direct hit.
Operation Iraqi Freedom answered the Patriot lethality question. Patriot soldiers dramatically demonstrated that their new generations of Patriot missiles are highly lethal against tactical ballistic missiles. The Army is expected soon to release a report confirming that Patriot missile interceptors were successful against all nine Iraqi missiles they engaged.
It was experimental 15 years ago. Stuff happens.
This is the beginning of the culmination of your dream. SDI.
The technology is proven. We had multiple test intercepts. We can detect the missiles, we can intercept them.
Obviously we don't have a capability against hundreds of missiles being launched at us, but we could intercept a few coming from N. Korea or Iran.
We would have had this capability years ago, if Clinton hadn't cut the program and kept it barely on lifesupport with minimum funding.
5 of 8 under controled conditions still seems pretty experimental to me. Yeah, it's better than nothing, and I see the wisdom of putting up what we have and improving as we go. And I do think missle defense is possible, in the long run.
Still, 5 of 8.
I dunno. Maybe this is part of a larger game with China and North Korea we aren't hearing a lot about.
And somehwere above, Ronald Reagan is smiling.
We would have had this protection years ago if it wasn't for the Democrats.
5 of 8 is pretty good -- you just shoot two interceptors at an incoming missiles, or even 3.
It works for limited attacks, that we could expect from rogue nations.
I didn't know we were that far along with a shield. If so, that's great news.
Do you have the particulars - type of intercepters, number of missles ready to rock 'n roll; are they located on our perimeter?
I'm not a spy - really. I'm just curious about the system.
For sure. At least C didn't kill the program. It's kind of a race now and it shouldn't have been.
I do too but he could be firmer and clearer - like explain what the threats of the 21st century are. Too much of the public just can't (or won't) get it - it needs to be very clear for them.
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